Squash: A Primer for the Holidays

Left to right: Butternut, Delicata, Buttercup and Spaghetti Squash

Winter squash is here in array and abundance. Great for any time, especially Thanksgiving, it actually beats sweet potatoes with fewer calories per serving and lower carb and sugar counts, as well. Quick to prepare, these squash can be served as a side or as a main course vegetarian dinner! Here are some ideas by variety, that we love.

Butternut- firm orange flesh, great steamed and pureed for a silky soup with vegetable stock and plant creamer or chicken stock and cream. To eat as-is halve, seed and bake at 425F cut side down for 30 minutes, turn, brush with butter or olive oil, salt, pepper and a drizzle of maple syrup, roast 20 minutes more- serve.

Delicata – also orange-fleshed, a bit less dense than butternut and usually smaller (one squash generally serves 2 people as a main course, stuffed or as a side) These are wonderful as a vegetarian side dish with a filling or vegetable sautee. Use a rice mixture, bread stuffing or a grain like farro or fonio. Halve the delicata, bake cut side down at 425F for 30 minutes (until soft) then flip,season with salt and pepper, stuff and serve.

Buttercup- This adorable round squash is about the size of a softball and would make a lovely holder for a pumpkin hummus or squash soup. To use as a container carefully remove the stem  and seeds insert a ball of foil (to help keep its shape) and cook the squash at 425 until just tender. This is also a perfect squash (halved or whole) for stuffing with any of the suggestions above. You can also halve, steam and scoop this squash and serve mashed with butter or olive oil, sauteed onions, garlic and thyme.

Spaghetti- Usually bright yellow or light orange thus squash has a wonderful cappellini-like texture that makes a perfect base for any pasta sauce from pesto to ragu or even chili. Cut and seed the squash and bake at 400F cut-side down for 30-40 minutes- the squash is done when the interior “shreds” easily with a fork and is crisp-tender. The skin becomes rigid with cooking and makes an excellent container for presenting your dish!



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